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We’ve Tried Single-Payer Healthcare, And It Has Failed

Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, the United States has already tried its hand at a pseudo-single-payer system. The VA is one example. Another, albeit less highly publicized, is the Indian Health Service. (via WhiteCoat)

Based on an agreement in 1787, the government is responsible to provide free health care to Native Indians on reservations. And, as you can see from this scathing story from the Associated Press, that promise has not been kept.

The numbers don’t lie:

American Indians have an infant death rate that is 40 percent higher than the rate for whites. They are twice as likely to die from diabetes, 60 percent more likely to have a stroke, 30 percent more likely to have high blood pressure and 20 percent more likely to have heart disease.American Indians have disproportionately high death rates from unintentional injuries and suicide, and a high prevalence of risk factors for obesity, substance abuse, sudden infant death syndrome, teenage pregnancy, liver disease and hepatitis.

And, after Haiti, where in the Western hemisphere do men have the lowest life expectancy? It’s on Indian reservations in South Dakota.

The primary reason, not surprisingly, is lack of money, compounded by a difficult time recruiting physicians and other clinicians. Indeed, many Indian health clinics cannot “deal with such high rates of disease, and poor clinics do not have enough money to focus on preventive care.”

So, if you’re in the camp that supports a Medicare-for-all-type solution to our health care woes, consider how that same government, whom you’re entrusting to be the single-payer, has neglected the Indian Health Service.

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*


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6 Responses to “We’ve Tried Single-Payer Healthcare, And It Has Failed”

  1. xinit says:

    One failed implementation from the 18th century, targeted at a people who were routinely let down time and again by other non-healthcare agreements and treaties? That doesn't so much prove single-payer doesn't work as add to the volume of evidence to show how bad the US government handled the native people historically.

  2. Linda Jansen says:

    When the rest of America lives on reservations, I'll believe the above statistics would apply to all of us.

    Try really funding the public clinics that American Indians must use. The Indians are isolated and without power.

    The rest of us are not. Single payer works in Europe and Canada. Are Americans incapable of making it work here to save money and lives?

    Shame on you for suggesting such a thing.

  3. Linda Jansen says:

    When the rest of America lives on reservations, I'll believe the above statistics would apply to all of us.

    Try really funding the public clinics that American Indians must use. The Indians are isolated and without power.

    The rest of us are not. Single payer works in Europe and Canada. Are Americans incapable of making it work here to save money and lives?

    Shame on you for suggesting such a thing.

  4. Sluggo says:

    you are actually making this argument? Really? There must be real fear of the single payer system for you to trot out one of the weakest arguments I have seen in my adult life.
    Kudos to xinit for refuting it instead of just collapsing into rage.

  5. Sluggo says:

    you are actually making this argument? Really? There must be real fear of the single payer system for you to trot out one of the weakest arguments I have seen in my adult life.
    Kudos to xinit for refuting it instead of just collapsing into rage.

  6. 1776blues says:

    It is a continuing failure, xinit! Your comment assumes the plan started and ended in the 18th century. Bottom line if they can't provide the Indians with decent helth care, how can they handle another 250 milion give or take a few million.

    Plus with the govenment in charge of paying your health insurance you will be subject to live a life style they dictate such as eating the right foods, exercising, smoking, drinking, etc… do you really need parents like the Feds telling you what you can and can't do?

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